port interface card (PIC)

What is port interface card?

A port interface card (PIC) is a computer circuit board that provides multiple, diverse interfaces for connections to external networks. In effect, a PIC is an enhanced network interface card (NIC).

Port interface cards are used in local networks (LANs), metropolitan networks (MANs) and wide networks (WANs) that employ two or more communications modes. Multiple ports facilitate the configuration of routers and switches for diverse network topologies and media without the need for replacing or swapping core hardware. The cards can also streamline the use of backup communications options. An example is the use of a dial-up connection when a high-speed Internet connection fails.

In personal and business computer systems, PICs can facilitate the use of multiple devices with different cable configurations by including serial ports, parallel ports, PS/2 connectors, Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports and proprietary ports.

This was last updated in December 2008

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